Help Spotlight Software move through the field of 64 and win the Venture Madness!
We are proud to be selected as one of the 64 participants in the Invest Southwest Venture Madness. This innovative competition pits 64 of the region’s most promising startups against each other in an exciting bracket-style, head-to-head competition. In round 1, we are up against a very worthy competitor in Brett Approved and need your help!
Watch our video for the competition below and cast your vote for Spotlight here.
An event filled with exciting business ideas, awesome teamwork, and mentoring was capped off by a pitch competition from the Phoenix area’s young entrepreneurs. Ready Set Launch! 2013 hosted by the Center of Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) was a week-long entrepreneurship learning experience for high school students. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors gained a new understanding of entrepreneurship as a possible career opportunity and how to start their own business.
Spotlight was able to take part in the event as a sponsor and was very excited to help support the young entrepreneurs of the future. COO Dan Schulz served as a judge for Friday’s pitch competition and even took part in some fun with one company’s Star Wars light saber replicas.
Watch this CEI video highlighting Spotlight as a Sponsor
The first day of the event was built around the students sharing ideas and learning to cooperate within their given teams. As the week went on, the teams developed their business pitch presentations covering everything from intellectual property to marketing to funding. Each team even developed their own commercial and radio spot recording!
Ready Set Launch! also included presentations from several prominent players in the Phoenix entrepreneurship community. The young entrepreneurs learned first-hand from those who have been there, done that in the startup world. Presenters involved with organizations such as Seed Spot, Co+Hoots, AZ Commerce Authority, NACET, and several others led informational and inspiring talks for the students.
Spotlight COO Dan Schulz with a new light saber
Friday wrapped up the incredible event with the teams presenting their business pitches to the panel of judges. Each team was given 10 minutes to present their business and any of them could have easily won the competition. But only one could be chosen and Skyguard, a business that provides large-scale security through drone surveillance, came away as the winning team. Greg Bullock of CEI wrote an excellent series ofpostsrecapping each day of the event in more detail and photos.
Not only was the entire event extremely valuable for the young entrepreneurs learning new business skills and lifelong lessons, it was valuable for us as well. We saw first-hand the future entrepreneurs of the Phoenix area. And boy, is that future bright.
NACET is a hands-on business incubator designed to transform innovative ideas into viable companies. Together with a wide variety of non-retail, service, manufacturing, technology, science and energy firms, NACET fosters business growth and economic vitality to create high-quality jobs for the region.
Located in Flagstaff, AZ, NACET offers a state-of-the-art facility with affordable office and meeting space, administrative support services, fully equipped lab space and advanced technology. The client companies take advantage of the resources and extensive reach of mentors, faculty, staff, and alumni to turn their ideas into a flourishing business.
Business Engagement Program
Each client takes part in a full engagement program to build a foundation for long-term growth. Clients are engaged in two ways. Resident clients operate directly out of the NACET facility and affiliate clients conduct business out of their own offices or laboratories with access to the facility when needed. Both take advantage of the incubation program to further their businesses.
The incubation program includes:
Business strategy and management advising
Introductions to angel investors and early stage venture firms
Intellectual property advisement services
Mentor network of experienced professionals
Collaboration with University research teams and domestic and international student interns
Access to public and private partners, training and networking opportunities
Any company besides brick-and-mortar retail is eligible to apply for the business engagement program under certain criteria. Consideration is given to those companies that have a realistic business and marketing plan with projections for future growth. Currently, NACET is home to 28 total clients including 13 resident, 11 affiliates, and 4 students.
Spotlight looks forward to continuing our relationship with NACET and their clients to provide assistance in their software development planning and execution strategies. For more information on NACET and their clients, stop by the website or contact them directly.
Spotlight CEO Vincent Serpico took part in the Spartan Obstacle Race this past weekend in cold, wet conditions (yes, even in Phoenix). A lot of preparation and training at the Rock Star Boot Camp helped him master all the obstacles in the race. Rock Star is no regular boot camp as the sense of team camaraderie and encouragement from other members makes the experienced unmatched.
While entrepreneurial software development and the Spartan Race are two completely different things, there are parallels between them. Both are hard, require a lot of preparation, and have a sweet reward. You will pivot and have to make quick decisions in both. But when it’s all said and done, you can look back and truly appreciate the journey to reach your goal.
So how do the two compare? Let’s take a look at the analogs between the Spartan Race and entrepreneurial software development.
Hire the Right Team
Both require that you have the right team around you for success.
In software development, you must decide whether to hire a team or do it yourself. It’s also important to ensure the right team is hired. Do they align with the vision of your application and business goals?
The Spartan Race is similar. Will you train with another person at the gym, go to a boot camp, or hire a personal trainer? Or will you do it on your own? Often a team approach is better for encouragement and motivation on those days you need something extra, just like in entrepreneurship.
Planning is essential for both.
Entrepreneurial software development requires planning at the beginning so your team knows what to develop and when. This keeps the team focused on the goals of the project. Sure, changes will be made to the requirements of the project but the overall goal is planned for at the start.
The approach to the Spartan Race requires planning well ahead of the race date. What kind of training is going to benefit you the most? Having a clear plan of what kind of training you need to focus on and how you are going to do it is key to a successful race day.
Keeping track of your progress helps you stay on track towards your goals.
Entrepreneurship is a special scenario where you are building a business from the ground up. Making sure you are staying on track and making progress from day to day is important to a successful business. If you don’t know you’re progress, you can’t make the right decisions to be successful in the future.
It’s no different with the Spartan Race. Monitoring your progress to ensure you are becoming properly prepared as race day approaches will make the whole experience that much better. Because you definitely don’t want to start the race and realized you should have trained more.
Team accountability is key in getting the things accomplished that you set out to do.
In entrepreneurial software development, accountability is key for delivering a successful project. You and your team need to be accountable for what is being developed and the delivery schedule. If anyone slips up, the whole project can be derailed.
Getting up early in the morning to train for the race can get old. This is where your individual accountability comes in. Are you keeping your training regimen in tact? If you belong to a boot camp, are you training mates encouraging you? Not holding yourself accountable and missing a day or two of training can make the race experience quite painful.
Software development is a process that requires everyone to stay on the same page. Constant and open communication makes sure of this so everyone is moving in the same direction. Collaborating with your team helps identify solutions to complex problems and resolve issues that pop up quickly.
Communication isn’t only between you and another person. When training for the Spartan Race, you have to listen to what your body is telling you. Overtraining happens quite easily so if your body is telling you to hang it up for the day, then hang it up. If you have a trainer, communicate with them daily on your training, how you are feeling, and concerns. They have the expertise to help you out.
Things out of your control will force you to pivot and adjust no matter what.
During development, changing requirements or market conditions can adjust your course. It happens all the time. Being able to properly pivot for these adjustments will keep your project in tact and on the timeline towards delivery. Thinking about this ahead of time and developing software that is scalable will make pivoting easy.
When training for the race, certain parts of your body will respond better than others. This is where you may need to adjust your training routine. You may need to start focusing more on endurance or agility if they aren’t coming quite as easily. Maybe your strength is coming along great, but it’s causing your flexibility to suffer. This is where you may need to pivot.
Reaching Your Goal
That day you reach your goal, whether it’s software delivery day or race day, is rewarding. You can look back at all the hard work and the path it took to get there.
Entrepreneurial software development takes a lot of twists and turns. Some days are stressful and you often have to work long, odd hours. But delivery day, when your project is complete and you can see your developed application, is so sweet. You know how much work was put in and that’s often the reward, not the compensation you get from it.
Training for an event like the Spartan Race requires dedication and a lot of desire to keep you going. You put your body in uncomfortable situations and have to find time to keep training among everything else going on in your life. But like entrepreneurship, when that day comes and you’ve finished the race, the level of gratification is unmatched. You know how much work was put in and the path it took to get there.
When it comes down to it, entrepreneurship can be compared to any difficult event that you have to prepare for and work towards a goal. The road can be long with good days and bad but when you reach that goal, whether it’s your millionth customer or a successful exit, you look back and know that you accomplished something that not a lot of people have a chance to. The experience of starting a business from the ground up and making it a success is the reward. And no money in the world can compensate for that.